When I was a teenager, I wanted a magic potion, or cream or salve, that would rid me of acne for all time. As with all good magic potions, it had a dark side in that there would be adverse side effects, but I was willing to live with those. I wanted to be clear of acne. I still do. How can I be 63 and still have acne?
When I was older and began to realize the impact of time passing, I wanted to be able to store memories never to forget them. “I want to always remember this,” I would say. I’ve forgotten so many of those moments, but I remember saying it.
When I was older yet, I wanted a potion to keep my son young and innocent and safe. I still want that potion. Especially as he traverses the horror that life can be when things go awry. I want to wave a magic wand and make it better.
I wanted a magic potion to find true love. The one. My missing half and then I realized that half of me was not missing. Then I wanted a magic potion to find a love that would treasure the woman I’ve become and am becoming.
Now I want a magic potion that will spare my mother the effects of old age. It’s not easy for her, it’s not easy for me. All signs indicate it will only get worse. I would quake with fear if I allowed myself to ponder that for too long.
Magic potions. Wouldn’t it be nice? Wouldn’t it be wonderful? A little apothecary down the street. On a diagonal street. The door in the corner. You walk in and the bell on the door rings. The shop smells of herbs and incense and bubbling stew hanging from a hook over the fire in the fireplace. A wizened old man, or woman, greets you with “Hail, fellow traveler. How can I help?”
You explain your need. Your want. Your desire. Your fear. You explain it all. He or she nods sagely and begins dipping into large bags and canisters of dried herbs, bottles of liquids, jars of syrupy mysteries. The herbs are crushed in a mortar. The liquids splashed liberally, and the salves scraped from a wooden spoon into the cauldron.
A large grimoire sits beside it with the page bearing the recipe dog-eared and stained. After an appropriate time, the potion is packaged and wrapped in brown paper with a string ribbon. You happily pay the asking price and leave with the instructions written on your heart.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful?
To have all problems and heartaches and wants and needs solved with a simple visit to the apothecary. And if you had no money, you would know that the apothecary would barter. There would always be something you could exchange for the needed potion. A song, a poem, a story, a kitten. Something. There would always be payment at the ready.
The dark sides of these potions would be manageable for the wary and true-intentioned. The chemist wouldn’t mix potions of revenge or hate or greed or malice. Only the pure of heart would find the chemist willing.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful?
But the dark side of fairy tales is always revealed. The Huntsman. The stepsisters. The evil witch with the poison apple. Would there be Yelp ratings for the apothecaries? “Five Stars! Worked just as it should.”
“Three stars, my dog turned into a cantankerous goat and won’t stop bleating.”
Would Amazon get in on the act? Replace the neighborhood apothecary and wizard or crone with a drone?
So much to go wrong. So much. Would there always be a happy ending? Probably not.
But wouldn’t it be nice? To have calm pleasant lives suffused with true love and happiness. There would be those who would buy acne preps and those who would buy world peace. Those who would protect their families and those who have self-cleaning houses.
One would hope that the individual needs and collective needs would be balanced. That clear skin wouldn’t come at the price of humanity in harmony.
But fairytales have a dark side always because we are human and the darkness comes with age and experience
I don’t believe in original sin. I believe in original divinity. Perhaps I should wish for a potion to return me back to that state. Emanating all that is good and light.
To be the light in a dark world. That’s the potion I should most want. It is.
But boy I sure would like to be acne free.
The downside of fairytales is the dark side of human existence. If we could only rise above it. If only.
Wouldn’t it be nice?